Note-Taking

Note-Taking

Note-taking will always be at the core of learning and education. We are often encouraged to take notes during lectures to have a record of the knowledge being shared by our teachers and gain a sense of familiarity with the subject.

There are many note-taking systems such as outlining, guided notes, and the famous Cornell notes. However, they do not result well when being recalled. No studies suggest that Cornell note-taking improves a student's performance better than free-flow writing.

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To make good notes, you must take note of these three things:

  • Rephrase the original idea and translate it into your own. Use your own words to distill it in your mind better.
  • Connect ideas together. Create links between your ideas for better understanding and recall.
  • Build upon the ideas. Add your own examples, own questions, and other ideas related to it.

In summary, actively engage with your notes. There are great methods such as mind mapping, digital gardening, and the Zettelkasten method.

The biggest difference between the two is that the former is easier to forget than the latter.

With note-making, it is easier to understand and remember because of the generation effect - the phenomenon wherein information is better remembered if it is actively created from your own mind rather than simple read in a passive way.

Note-taking:

  • Usually done while listening
  • Fast-paced
  • Uses the author's original language

Note-making:

  • Commonly done while reading
  • Self-paced
  • Uses our own language and understanding of the material

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The Outline method

It requires you to structure your notes in form of an outline by using bullet points to represent different topics and their subtopics. 

Start writing main topics on the far left of the page and add related subtopic in bullet points below using indents.

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TAKE NOTES EFFECTIVELY

If your in-class notes are messy, unorganized, and unclear at first glance, you’re not going to get much use out of them. This has nothing to do with how neat your handwriting is — it’s all about how your notes are structured.

One of the most effective ways to remember (and understand) what you are learning in class is to take effective notes in the classroom.

  • Ensures you are actively listening to what the teacher is saying
  • Requires you to think about what you are writing
  • Helps you make connections between topics
  • Serves as quality review material for after class

Using different note taking strategies is important, especially as you progress through high school and transition to college or university. There are several note taking techniques you can use to start taking better notes in class.

Purpose of taking notes

Note-taking serves one simple purpose: to help you remember information. 

Although we might associate note-taking with school, it's something most of us continue doing for the bulk of our lives.

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